IT fundis to help SKA

2016-03-16 06:00
THE Higgszes hard at work. Photos: Boipelo Mere

THE Higgszes hard at work. Photos: Boipelo Mere

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COMPUTER enthusiasts gathered in the Mayibuye Centre in Galeshewe, Kimberley, to familiarise themselves with new developments in computer technology.

This “hackathon” was hosted by the Northern Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism, in conjunction with the Pretoria-based organisation Geekulcha.

A hackathon is an event in which computer programmers and others involved in software and hardware, graphic designers, interface designers and project managers collaborate intensively on software projects.

The hackathon is for the Square Kilometer Array (SKA), which is currently being constructed in the province.

Due to the fact that the SKA will possibly produce more data in a day than is produced in a day by the entire internet, the initiative aims to assist members of the community to embrace this knowledge and use it wisely to their advantage.

Mobile apps and data visualisation forms were created to help the community, including government, utilise the data from the SKA and plan ahead.

The group that gathered in Mayibuye had the mammoth task of forming themselves into groups, getting specific tasks and coming up with solutions.

Tiyani Nghonyama, the facilitator of Geekulcha, further explained that the marathon was set to give solutions to problems that might arise in the future through predictive analysis.

Precautionary measures could therefore be taken in the event of looming droughts and floods.

The groups were judged according to the versatility of their programmes and their ability to make solutions easily available to their intended clientele.

The groups were therefore grouped as Borehole Finders, E-pro Manager, Nada, Team FNFK, the Higgszes, Heatwave, Alien Tech, Water Reporter, Zoek and Minus-Minus = Positive.

These groups had to literally work non-stop throughout the night to work out solutions to their tasks.

According to Melanie Barlow, communications manager in the Department of Economic Affairs, it was expected that the groups complete their tasks in 30 hours before reporting back in the presence of judges.

At the end of the presentations, Alien Tech were the overall winners, while Water Reporter got the second prize and FNFK got the third position. The best female hacker was Nyakallo Motsoari.

Nghonyama promised that they had a number of various other related events still lined up for the year.

According to the Department of Economic Affairs, the SKA Hackathon brought about SKA knowledge and unearthed innovation that could bring about socio-economic change.

The winning students will get business and technical support from the partnering companies and the department.

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